Rythmbox To Remain As Default Music Player In Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10

In the Ubuntu Developers Summit – Maverick, a decision was made to replace Rythmbox, the current default music player, with a new one in UNE 10.10.

Banshee was picked as the replacement and the developers have been working on getting it ready for October 10 (that is the date for the release of UNE 10.10). They have even finished works on tweaking the Banshee UI to go with the new Unity interface that is making an appearance in Maverick.

In an update to the blueprint today, there is a change in that plan. Banshee is now deemed too buggy to be the default music player. So, for UNE 10.10, Rhythmbox will retain its position.

The plan to have Banshee instead of Rhythmbox is now postponed till UNE 11.04 Natty Narwhal.

Banshee will still be there in the repository as always.

[via OMG! UBUNTU!]

Download Songbird 1.8.0 For Linux

Songbird 1.8.0 has been released under the codename “Orbital” for Mac OS X and Windows. The new release has a number of improvements in terms of performance and some new features, like support for USB storage device class. The number of supported devices have also been increased.

Songbird is no longer officially supported in Linux. But, through community effort, Songbird 1.8.0 is also available for Linux; without any support, of course.

To use Songbird 1.8.0, open the terminal and download the version.

For 32-bit:

wget http://download.songbirdnest.com/installer/linux/i686/Songbird_1.8.0-1800_linux-i686.tar.gz

For 64-bit:

wget http://download.songbirdnest.com/installer/linux/x86_64/Songbird_1.8.0-1800_linux-x86_64.tar.gz

Then, extract the tarball.

For 32-bit:

tar -xzf Songbird_1.8.0-1800_linux-i686.tar.gz

For 64-bit:

tar -xzf Songbird_1.8.0-1800_linux-x86_64.tar.gz

Make the file executable.

cd Songbird
chmod u+x singbird

Then, open your file browser, go inside the Songbird folder and double-click on a file named “songbird” to launch Songbird.

Or, you can just do this from the command line:

./songbird

First Look At iTunes 10

Apple announced the iTunes 10 today at the special music event, and I was able to download it just before 10PM Eastern Time. As compared to earlier version of iTunes, iTunes 10 is only about 72.2MB in size.

The installation of iTunes went fairly well, and it was up and running in a few minutes. The new interface in iTunes 10 is almost similar to iTunes 9.2, however, Apple has used a pretty weird looking icon for iTunes 10 and has also changed the buttons and other icons. Overall, I did not like  the new look for iTunes 10.

After downloading and installing iTunes 10, I spent some time looking at it and found it to be pretty OK as compared to what was expected of it. Here are some of my views about the new features in iTunes 10.

TV Show Rentals

iTunes 10 TV Shows Rental

iTunes 10 has added a new feature where users could rent out TV shows for 99c. They offer episodes from the latest TV shows and also some classic TV shows. Shows include the usual suspects like Family Guy, Glee, The Cleveland Show, Prison Break, Bones and so on. However, you will also find similar shows for free on Hulu.com.

iTunes 10 TV Show Rentals Download

I tried to watch a free TV show, 30 Rock Recap Special and the download in itself was set to take 20-30 minutes, so it could not be done in time for the review. This is particularly annoying on an high speed network. I will update this review with my views on the quality of the videos.

iTunes TV Show Rental Quality

Update: The TV Show finally downloaded and the quality is pretty good and definitely on par with Hulu.

iTunes TV rentals will allow you to watch the TV shows within 30 days of you renting it, however, once you start watching a show, you have to finish it within 48 hours or else you will not be able to watch it again. The TV shows can be watched on either you PC, or . There is no option for users, but iPad users will also get the ability with iOS 4.2 for iPad and AirPlay.

iTunes Ping

Apple introduced iTunes Ping today, a social networking for music lovers and probably a rival. I tried out Ping and found it to be pretty decent. Ping can be accessed from the left sidebar of iTunes and requires you to use your Apple account to login.

iTunes Ping Welcome Screen

Once you have logged in, you will be shown a series of screens that ask for your profile information. Once you have logged in, you will see a list of people to follow, which is something typical to what you will see with Facebook and .

iTunes Ping Recent Activity

iTunes Ping also allows you to connect with your Facebook friends who are using Ping. Just like any other social networking, the key to Ping is people. So you will have to start following people to see their activity, music recommendations and more.

One thing I noticed is that Ping is quite buggy and you will notice quite a few problems while using different features with it. For example, I had to try several times before I could connect my Facebook account with Ping. Also the navigation is buggy, sometimes clicking on page numbers will do nothing and so on. However, this service is quite new and will be polished with time.

Another downside to Ping is that, since it has launched today, I could not find many people to find or follow. I will leave it at it and see how it works when I have more people to follow and recommend music to.

Faster Synching With Devices

Apple promised faster synching and more real-time storage indicators with iTunes 10. I tried synching my device by adding some music and sync was definitely more faster than what I have seen on earlier version of iTunes. However, I had some problems with iTunes recognizing my device and it took unplugs and iTunes restarts to see the device in iTunes.

These are just some of the new features I have toured in iTunes 10, of course might be several more enhancements in it, but these are the core features that you should be looking at if you want to upgrade to iTunes 10. Also Apple might require users to upgrade to iTunes 10 to install future updates. So go ahead and give it a try, you can download iTunes 10 by visiting http://www.apple.com/itunes

Live-Composed Music Album on a Single Microchip!

1-Bit Symphony is exactly what the title of this post says. It comes on a CD jewel case and is very, very minimalist.

1bitsymphony1

No it’s not a CD. It’s a microchip that’s embedded on a CD-sized jewel case. There’s a 3.5mm headphone jack that sits at the edge of the case. All you need to do is plug in your headphones, turn on the recordingand listen!

It’s not so much as a recording as a pre-programmed algorithm embedded in the chip that presents the music liveto your ears. Chiptunes at their finest. Tristan Perich’s experimental gadget/music-player is something that can only be experienced. Pre-order it from Cantaloupe Music for $29!

Video of the gadget follows:-

Tristan Perich: 1-Bit Symphony (Part 1: Overview) from Tristan Perich on Vimeo.

Minitunes – Yet Another Music Player?

The developer of Minitube, the desktop YouTube player for Linux, has revealed a new music player called Minitunes. There are innumerable music players players available for Linux; many of them no different from the other. Does Minitune stand out or is it just another one of those music players?

Since it is the first release, Minitunes lacks so many features that people usually take for granted in other music players. (No! playing music is not a feature it lacks. :p) If I were to list all the features that Minitunes lack, the list would be a very long one. So, I am going to list just the major features that it still lacks.

Search

There is no way you can search for a song in your library or in the playlist. Simply put, Minitunes does not have any kind of search functionalities yet.

Last.fm Integration

Last.fm integration is one of the chief features many people (including myself) look for in a music player. It allows the world to see what you are listening to. Minitunes does not have Last.fm yet.

Media Device Support

Minitunes does not have the ability to sync with other media devices.

Music Library

The music library in Minitunes is currently very feature-limited. You have only one directory in the library right now. This means if you have your music in two locations like /disk1/music/ and disk2/music/. You can only add one of the two but not both.

So far I have listed only the shortcomings of Minitunes, so it must be “one-of-those-music-players” and a bad one at that, right?

Actually no. Yes Minitunes lacks so many features and I am not going to start using it anytime soon. But that is expected since this is the first release. And it certainly is not just one of the music players which does the same thing. It actually brings something new.

The best thing about Minitubes is its interface. It is visually one of the best interfaces I have seen in a music player. The Minitunes developer have managed to bring a new innovative interface which unclutters everything so that you can enjoy your music. In times it will have most of the features that it currently lacks. It certainly is one music player which holds a lot of promise and one which I will be following enthusiastically.

Minitunes is not yet available in the PPA. But you can use it by downloading the binary from here. It is available for Mac too. Windows version is also expected later on.

So, go ahead try it out. Tell us (and the developer) what you think.

Record Shoutcast Music Stations with MP3 VCR

music-notes [Windows Only] Many years ago, I remember recording broadcast radio stations using reel-to-reel, 8-track and finally cassette tape recorders. It was pretty simple tune in your radio, start your tape recorder and let it run. The biggest drawback was that you didn’t have a song list and it was often hard to identify the artist or the name of the song playing.

These days, computers have made it much easier to record music. There are many methods to record the streaming music at internet radio stations and I’ve discovered that the MP3 VCR is one of the easiest. All you have to do is:

  • Search Shoutcast.com for a radio station
  • Drag the station link to the Source Informationfield
  • Set music storage folder
  • Click the Start Recordingbutton

Here’s what the setup applet looks like:

mp3vcr-setup-interface

At Shoutcast, the link you need to drag and drop is the yellow TUNE INbutton.

shoutcast-station-list

Once you’ve started recording, you’ll see the main interface. There are a few buttons at the bottom that you can use for Pause, Stop, Listen or Mute while recording, Timed Recordings, Station Listings, Setup and Exit.

mp3vcr-main-interface

The station list is a nice feature. It allows you to play, add and remove Shoutcast radio streams.

mp3vcr-station-list

MP3 VCR actually detects the song titles of most station streams and creates an MP3 file for each song.

folder-music-files

This recorder is also advertised to work with stations at Live365.com. I haven’t had much luck with that, but I never use their service. There are thousands of stations at Shoutcast, what more can you ask for?

Download MP3 VCR

http://www.mp3vcr.com/

Techie Buzz Verdict:

There are plenty of ways to record music from the internet. MP3 VCR is free and it’s one of the easiest recording methods I’ve tried. In addition to plenty of documentation, this program’s source code is also available. Based on what I’ve found so far, I can highly recommend MP3 VCR.

techiebuzzrecommendedsoftware1

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

Vodafone Brings Songs For Mumbaikars For Just Re.1

Vodafone Free Music DOwnloadLooks like Vodafone is on a long run for pleasing it’s customers to any extent. We have already told you about Vodafone launching an App Store in India and Vodafone’s new customer support on Twitter. Now Vodafone has launched an unique scheme by which Vodafone subscribers can now enjoy latest music content on their phones almost for free.

This exclusive music download service is accessible on your GPRS mobile phone via Vodafone Live (Available to Vodafone customers). Songs are available in various categories such as Bhajans, Ghazals, New Age, current and more external hits. Customers will be charged Re.1 Per song download. But only 5 songs can be downloaded on one day. All your customisations will be saved on the Vodafone Live website for you to download later.

This service can be accessed by sending an SMS message LIVE to 111. The catch is this service is currently available to only the prepaid and postpaid subscribers of Mumbai however we may expect this service to be launched in other cities soon.

Image Via CellBharat

[Review] Clementine 0.2 Music Player in Ubuntu

For many Linux users (me included), Amarok is the music player of choice. However, the Amarok 2 series introduced a radical change in Amarok for the earlier series and has found many haters. As a result many people still refuse to upgrade to Amarok 2 series and are sticking with Amarok 1.4. For those people who want to have Amarok 1.4 along with the new tecnologies that Qt4 brings, there is a new music player called Clementine.

Clementine is basically a port of Amarok 1.4 to Qt4. Techie Buzz author, Sathya Bhat, has already covered Clementine when it was at a very early stage of development. Now, it has matured a bit more. Some of the features have been rewritten to take advantage of new features provided by Qt4. Now with the new release, some new features/improvemnts have been added:

  • Album cover art is now automatically loaded from disk for your library.
  • Cover manager downloads missing covers from Last.fm.
  • Covers for Last.fm radio tracks are shown in notifications.
  • Much better Various Artistsdetection.
  • Shuffle and Repeat modes for the playlist.
  • Playlist columns for album, artist, composer, file type, date
  • Support for Media keys (play, stop, etc.) in Linux.

Clementine provides a very simple and no-frills interface which is extremely easy to use, just like the one you get with Amarok 1.4. In fact, I think it is the exactly the same interface that Amarok 1.4 had. For software at such an early stage of development, it is extremely stable. I have been using it since yesterday and yet it has not crashed or hung or done anything of that sort.

Clementine has a dead simple configuration editor, where even newbies will feel quite at home. Like Amarok 2.3, it uses Knotify to notify when a new song starts which is much better than the OSD that Amarok 1.4 uses.

Feature-wise, Clementine provides most of the features that you would expect from Amarok 1.4. Of course, it does not have stuffs like the applet supports that you get with Amarok 2 series, but users of Amarok 1.4 should be quite satified with the features that it provides. However, it still does not have some very basic things like iPod and MP3 player support. This can however be overlooked for the time being as it is in early development stage.

A feature missing in Clementine that can however cause problems is that there is no option to use an external database instead of the default SQLite. With a large music library SQLite tends to be slow, so with Amarok, I use an external MySQL database to maintain my library. With Clementine I am forced to have SQLite handling the entire library. However, if you have a relatively small collection (from my experience I would say less than 10k songs), this will not be a problem.

If you would like to try it out you can  download the .deb file and install it. It is available for both 32-bit and 64-bit systems. For Ubuntu, Karmic Koala is the only supported version. Since it is Qt based you will also need some KDE libraries to run it.

[via Digitizor]

Tiny but Full Featured MP3 Player – STP

[Windows Only]  STP, short for “SysTrayPlay”, is an MP3 player made in Russia by Youri Strous.

This tiny music player is contained in a single executable file about 200k in size. Despite the small size, STP has everything you need to easily listen to and manage your MP3 collection. It’s designed to stay out of your way and provide music while you are busy doing other things on your PC.

Installation and first use:
This program is offered as a ZIP file collection. Since STP is a single EXE file, you can unzip and place the STP.EXE file anywhere on your hard drive. As far as I can tell it’s completely portable and you should be able to use it from a flash drive or any other media.

Once you launch it, you’ll see the STP icon in your system tray. It will save it’s own settings in an STP.INI file after it’s started.

stp_systray_icon

A right single click on the STP icon reveals all the settings, controls and options. Normal left single mouse clicks will pause and play the current song. You can assign other functions to both right and left double and triple clicks of the mouse.

stp_menu

Using the STP minibar:
Under the Windows menu, STP can be set to display a “minibar” interface that many people will recognize as common in music players. The minibar can be dragged around on the screen by grabbing the dark grey rectangle on the right end.

stp_minibar

The minibar also displays the standard Play, Pause, Stop, Forward and Backward buttons. The next “now playing” field is active and clicking on it will cause the player to jump to different portions of the song almost instantly. The next field shows the volume as a percentage. Clicking on the volume field allows you to change the volume up and down.

After the volume field, you can see that there are 5 letters displayed. Clicking on the letters “I E P T A” provides quick access to many of the often used player functions.

I – brings up up “MP3 Info” on the currently playing song where you can also edit the ID3 tags.

stp_mp3_info

E – launches the built in “Equalizer” which allows you to adjust the sound frequencies and save or load EQ settings.

stp_equalizer

P – displays a playlist which can be saved as M3U or PLS files. MP3 files can be dragged and dropped on the playlist and once there, they can be re-ordered by dragging them up or down in the list. Playlists can also be searched by typing in the “Find Track” field at the top of the playlist.

stp_playlist

T – shows the “Tracks” menus which I’d say should really be called the “Folders” because it allows you to see all the music folders that your current playlist is using.

A – shows “Album” menu with the current music folder and the songs in it.

That basically covers using the “minibar” interface. I prefer using only the systray icon along with some custom hotkeys.

Using Hotkeys instead of the minibar:
You can set your own custom hotkeys in STP by going to the Settings / Advanced menu. You’ll find lots of other goodies in this settings menu, but let’s focus on the hotkeys which can be accessed by hitting the “Hotkeys” button at the bottom.

stp_adv_setting

Almost every function of STP can be accessed by hotkeys that you can define.

stp_hotkeys

As you can see, I only use a few of the hotkeys such as Play/Pause, Prev/Next and Volume. Those alone are enough to keep me from having to click open any other menus while using STP.

STP Home page: http://stp.byteact.com/

The only other MP3 player that I like as much as STP, is Foobar. Keshav, my friend and co-author here at Techie-Buzz, has written several posts about Foobar. It’s a well supported MP3 player with plenty of skins and plugins.

Techie Buzz Verdict:

techiebuzzrecommendedsoftware1 There are very few MP3 players that are smaller than STP and I’d give it 5 points for cramming in all of it’s features in such a small and completely portable package. However, I have to take one point back because the author is no longer actively developing this application. The source code is available for this application. Does anyone need a coding project?

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5

How To Link Foobar With Google Talk’s “Show Current Music Track” Feature

Foobar [Windows Only] When it comes to desktop music players, Foobar is my software of choice. It’s got features, it’s got speed and it can be customized like a ball of soft clay. Previously, I have written about how to turn the minimalistic interface of Foobar into something more expressive, and here’s something adding to it.

If you use Google Talk as your primary Internet Messenger and prefer Foobar for listening to music, you would have noticed that when setting the status in Google Talk, the Show Current Music Trackfeature doesn’t work. Well, it is not really supposed to work as such. Apparently, Google Talk only supports iTunes, Windows Media Player, Winamp and Yahoo Music Jukebox. The small number of supported players is actually justified because given the state and construction of every music player, the developers would have to utilize and bring to work a different API for each media player, which is not a viable option provided the large number of music players available.

So what does a user of a lesser known media player like Foobar do? Given the extensiveness of the audio player in question here, it is pretty easy. All it needs is a plugin, a little hack and minor registry editing.

Blogger Siddharth from UberUllu.com shows you how to make the task at hand happen. You should read the post over there, but I will explain briefly how it works. First you get a plugin, or component in foo-speak and install it to your Foobar. Next you’ll need a registry hack. And then you will need to create an empty playlist file in the Foobar directory. Now since Google Talk happens to support Winamp, when you choose the Show Current Music Trackoption, it will look for Winamp on your system. The registry hack that was applied earlier now deceives Google Talk into believing that Winamp is actually located in your Foobar installation folder. The Foobar component that was installed emulates a Winamp 2.x window so that other plugins and applications (Google talk in this case) can work with Foobar without any trouble. The empty playlist file probably facilitates the process.

So ultimately, now you can update all your contacts with the music track you are tuning into.

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